Celebrities, palm trees and beaches help make Los Angeles an iconic city. But what really makes it special is its love for cars.
Every year, tens of thousands attend the Los Angeles Auto Show to get a glimpse of what they’ll be ogling on Sunset Boulevard in the coming year.
Today, the show opens to the public (and runs through Nov. 27), but we managed to get a sneak preview to see the cars — and the technology trends — that are powered by NVIDIA.
The Road to Self-Driving Cars
In between the main halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, you’ll find the Tesla Motors exhibit. Tesla’s Model S and Model X are on display, with the latter towing a polished Airstream trailer.
A month ago, Tesla Motors announced that all its vehicles — Model S, Model X and the upcoming Model 3 — will be equipped with an on-board supercomputer and sensors that are capable of fully autonomous operation. This next-generation autopilot system is powered by the NVIDIA DRIVE PX 2 AI computing platform and will get smarter and more capable over time via software updates.
Talking About Our AI Future
Aside from vehicle debuts, booth models and industry announcements, the LA Auto Show is also a hub for talks on the future of mobility.
At AutoMobility LA, NVIDIA moderated a panel called “Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Transportation.” Speakers Sky Matthews, CTO of IBM Watson; CJ Frost, principal solutions architect of Amazon Alexa; and Nikhil George, senior manager of Perception and Machine Learning of Audi ERL, presented insights on how AI is transforming how we drive cars, and how cars will soon drive us.
Of course, it wouldn’t be an auto show without beautiful new cars, and Porsche-heads had reason to grin ear to ear. Not because actor Patrick Dempsey and tennis superstar Maria Sharapova were at their booth, but because Porsche just introduced a new top-end model, called the Panamera Executive.
Longer than the standard Panamera, and designed to be chauffeur-driven, the Executive’s most powerful variant can generate a whopping 520 horsepower.
Of course, what gets us revving is the MIB-based head unit. The quick Tegra-powered navigation and infotainment services include functions and apps that enable drivers to make better use of their time during the journey. One example: the online nav, which includes the online search for places and real-time traffic information, as well as Google Earth and Google Street View for improved guidance during the journey and at the destination.
This isn’t an example of business in the front, party in the back, however. The Panamera Executive’s use of the Porsche Rear Seat Entertainment is another great feature. The NVIDIA-powered 10.1-inch displays integrated in the backrests of the front seats transform the rear into a fully digitized workplace. And if passengers are on the go, the displays can also be used as tablets.
The Audi A7 has been a heavy hitter for the Audi brand. Its distinctive styling made it an incredibly versatile model for driving enthusiasts. Now, Audi will make a sportback version of the A5/S5 sports car, too, giving it double the cargo capacity of the coupe.
Arriving in dealerships in spring 2017, it offers the same advanced infotainment systems as the coupe and cabriolet models, including the award-winning NVIDIA Tegra-powered Audi virtual cockpit. This game-changing display offers a visually rich, flexible layout to suit the driver in any situation.
Perfect for an LA Winter
At an offsite event in a $10 million mansion, Lamborghini unveiled its open top supercar, the Huracán LP 580-2 Spyder. Using a 5.2-liter V10, the Huracán Spyder generates 572 horsepower and sprints from 0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds. It’s actually a little slower than the LP 620-4 Spyder, but because the power is only delivered to the rear-wheels, drift arcs and power slides are much more “entertaining.” Good news for canyon carvers and weekend track warriors.
So, how does NVIDIA come into play? NVIDIA powers the navigation system set inside the 12.3-inch, high-resolution, thin-film transistor screen in front of the driver. That makes it easy to keep your eyes on the road, not a bad thing for a car that moves at these speeds. The Huracán was one of the first models to move the infotainment out of the center stack and place it behind the steering wheel.
The Tuner Special
To the joy of many, Honda Motor Company introduced its 10th-generation Honda Civic Si. As a beloved tuner car to a cult group of automotive enthusiasts, the Civic Si will have 180 horsepower, delivered by a 1.5-liter turbo four-cylinder engine. Granted this particular car that is displayed is a prototype, however, it will closely preview what drivers will get come 2017.
This little sports car features Honda Connect, an Android-based system powered by NVIDIA. Honda Connect allows access to smartphone-style in-vehicle apps in an easier, safer way.
A MINI for the Adventurous
MINI wowed the crowds with its new Mini Cooper Countryman S E All4. MINI is getting bigger and going electric with this cute hybrid model. Using a boosted 3-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor, this new Countryman delivers 221 horsepower, with an all-electric range of 24 miles.
MINIs include an NVIDIA-powered version of iDrive, BMWs navigation and infotainment system. This features high-resolution visuals, real-time traffic reporting and navigation information, while also being intuitively simple.
If you’re in Los Angeles between now and Nov. 27, check out the LA Auto Show to see what’s coming down the road.